walking on graves

making space for art, contemplation & grieving in a modern cemetery

illustration by jonathan himsworth

excerpted from the print magazine...

Since visiting my grandparents' graves I have recalled times when I felt the potential for cemeteries to be, in all their death, alive and creative. Playing in the old, archetypal spooky graveyard down the street as a child was both enlivening to my senses, and comforting. While traveling in South America as an adult, I came across cemeteries that drew me in by their abundant decoration of flowers and photographs - obvious signs that the living care for and make use of these spaces. It's true that as memorial services are more individualized fewer people go to cemeteries, but since we do have these spaces, maybe they could be a little more inviting as places to encourage us to acknowledge death and celebrate life.

At A Night For All Souls, an art installation at Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery on October 29, 2005, I learned that loss is transformed when people come together to express themselves in ritual. Artist in residence Paula Jardine believes that finding creative ways to acknowledge, commemorate and even celebrate death, heightens life. "What we can do for the dead is to walk across their graves and let them know life goes on," she says. "These are important aspects of mourning, grieving and living "

Tracy Dixon is a yoga teacher and practitioner of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration. She lives, works and plays on Vancouver Island, BC, and sometimes in Northern India.

Copyright ©2007 ascent magazine, first Canadian yoga magazine, yoga for an inspired life